“Cyber Monday” Traffic Spikes

Traffic at online shopping sites was 15% higher on so-called Cyber Monday compared to Black Friday, according to a report from Nielsen/NetRatings.

The 100 online retailers that make up Nielsen/NetRatings’ Holiday eShopping Index drew 27.7 million unique visitors Monday, the online audience measurement company reported. “Cyber Monday brought a surge of traffic to many online retailers as shoppers returned to work following the holiday weekend ready to tackle their holiday gift lists,” Heather Dougherty, Nielsen/NetRatings’ senior retail analyst, said in a statement.

The phrase “Cyber Monday” has drawn a great deal of press coverage since trade group Shop.org published a press release on Nov. 21 proclaiming it “one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.” The phrase was coined in reaction to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, conventionally held as the day retailers’ books go from red to black.

A spike in online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving isn’t a new phenomenon. Also, the Monday after Thanksgiving is not the biggest online shopping day of the year, nor is it the start of the online shopping season. An article on BusinessWeek.com headlined “Cyber Monday: Marketing Myth” notes that the Monday after Thanksgiving is the 12th biggest online shopping day.

Online audience measurement firm comScore coined the phrase “Black Monday” in 2001, when its analysts began to see a spike in online sales as people returned to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving. ComScore considers the week ending Nov. 6 to have been the beginning of the online holiday shopping season this year.

In any case, the most-visited site in Nielsen/NetRatings’ index on Monday was eBay with 11.7 million visitors, followed by Amazon.com with 5.6 million visitors, Wal-Mart.com with 3.1 million, Target.com with 2.2 million, Overstock.com with 1.9 million, Dell.com with 1.8 million, Shopping.com with 1.7 million, BestBuy.com with 1.6 million, Netflix.com with 1.4 million, and Shopzilla.com with 1.3 million.

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